Thursday, January 25, 2007

Scientists discover how to activate genetic 'switch' that stops cancer

A way of ridding the body of lethal tumours has been identified by scientists who have used a genetic "switch" to turn on a key gene for suppressing cancer.

The findings suggest there may be a way of re-activating a damaged gene that is normally involved in the natural suppression of the uncontrolled cell division that leads to cancer.

In a study on laboratory mice, the scientists demonstrated that it was possible to arrest the growth of tumours by activating the p53 gene, which is known to be involved in cancer suppression. In some of the animals the tumours shrank by between 40 and 100 per cent and the experimental technique appeared to work on two quite different kinds of cancer that are also known to affect humans.

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